Locomotives / Train Sets


Diesel-Electric Locomotive

Entry Last Edited: 01/17/2024 | Content ©www.RailRoadJunction.net | The following text is exclusive to this site.
Specifications [+]
Over 1,200 examples of the EMD SD40 diesel-electric locomotive were built from early-1966 into August 1977.
The SD40 were built to the same relative standard as the SD38 and SD45, all sharing the same 645 series diesel powerplant and all featuring six-axle arrangements. To expedite production and keep costs manageable, the line of new locos for GM's Electro-Motive Division (EMD) utilized the same cab, air brakes, generator components, and overall frame - while their designations signified total available output power (the SD40 at 3,000 horsepower).

The series was originally manufactured under the EMD brand label and then, later, General Motors Diesel (GMD). A total of 1,268 units were ultimately produced from the period spanning 1966 to 1972. These went on to be featured in American, Canadian, Mexican, and Brazilian industry with 856 units alone delivered to American operators. At least 330 were delivered for use in Canada.

The locomotive has a running length of 65.7 feet with a beam of 10 feet and a height of 15.5 feet. It tips the scales at 360,000lb.

Drive power is diesel-electric and generated from a V16 (16-cylinder) turbocharged diesel unit developing 3,000 horsepower to a six-axle configuration seeing three forward and three at the rear. Independent air brakes are standard while dynamic brakes were optional.

In its completed configuration, the locomotive has a maximum speed of 83 miles-per-hour.

The SD40 was eventually updated to the SD40-2 with improvements. These appeared in 1972 and were manufactured until 1989 to the tune of nearly 4,000 units. This led to some of the original SD40 stock seeing modernization as well - resulting in the SD40-3 designation. Updates include improved fuel economy and control as well as digital processing.

Other designations are SD40R and SD40M-2 (Southern Pacific rebuilds), SD40-2XR (for Montana Rail Link), and SD40E (SD50s for Norfolk Southern Railway).

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Specifications [ EMD SD40 ]

GM Electro-Motive Division (EMD) / General Motors Diesel (GMD) - United States-Canada

United States
1966 - 1972
Production Run

1,268 units
Production Total
Train driver seating position graphic

Driver Position
20.0m | 65.7 ft
NOTE: May include length of entire train set
163,295 kg
(360,065 lb | 180 US Tons)
Locomotive power source graphical icon
Power Source
1 x EMD 16-645-E3 V16 turbocharged diesel unit with AR-10 primary alternator and D14 auxiliary alternator.
Engine / Drive Source
D-77 traction motors.
Traction Motor / Sets
3,000 hp
Rated Output Power
135.0 kph
(83.9 mph)
Max Speed
Wheel Arrangement
(Loco Facing Left)

Series Variants
SD40 - Base Series Designation.
EMD 434 - Test-frame SD40 built atop the framework of an SD35 loco in July 1964.
SD40A - Lengthened SDP45 frames with larger fuel tanks built for exclusively for Illinois Central Railroad.
SD40-2 - Modernized / upgraded (Dash 2) variant.
SD40-3 - Modernized / rebuilt SD40s.
SD40R - Rebuilt SD40 for Southern Pacific fleet; 1980-1981.
SD40M-2 - Morrison Knudsen rebuilds of SD40 units for Southern Pacific; 30 examples.
SD40-2XR - SD50 3,500hp loco rebuild for Norfolk Souther Railway with 3,000hp output.
Operating Countries
Australia; Brazil; Canada; Guinea; Mexico; United States

National flag of Australia National flag of Brazil National flag of Canada National flag of Guinea National flag of Mexico National flag of the United States
Customers / Operators:
Canadian National; Canadian Pacific; Chesapeake and Ohio; Illinois Central Railroad; Norfolk and Western; Santa Fe; Southern Railway; Southern Pacific; Victorian Railways; Western Australian Government Railways
NOTE: Includes both past and present

Image of the EMD SD40

Image of the EMD SD40
Side illustration view of the EMD SD40 in Illinois Central livery; color.
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